Hidden behind India's inability to defend big totals in this World Cup is their poor showing in the batting Powerplays. In the period meant for acceleration in good batting conditions, they have cut a sorry figure. And, in hindsight, that made the difference in the end, especially against England and South Africa.The Indian batsmen were ideally placed to cut loose in the Powerplay in all three matches they batted first. However, barring against Bangladesh, they didn't help their cause by either losing too many wickets or failing to score enough runs. With one match to go before the knockout games, this is an issue they must address.
“Well, you need to,” said M.S. Dhoni on Saturday after being asked whether the team was concerned about it. “Even if we get about 40, it's good. At our best, we have taken 55-60 runs from those overs. But of late, we have lost too many wickets in those overs and it's something we have to keep an eye on. Hopefully, we will make most of it in the coming games.”
India's patchy display in those overs cost them the match against South Africa. A rush of adrenaline was evident during that period which saw a number of reckless shots played with fatal result.
Dhoni said the need of the hour was to approach this period sensibly, instead of going for broke.
“I don't think you need to manufacture shots. At times, if you have too many wickets in hand, you look to score as many runs as possible. While doing so, if you lose two or three wickets in a couple of overs, more often than not you waste the last three overs of that power play. So, you need to get the balance right,” said the skipper, reminding everybody of what happed against South Africa.
“If the ball is in your area, you can go for a big shot. At the same time, if the bowler puts the ball in good areas, you have to treat him with respect even if the Powerplay is on. One must also keep in mind that the best bowlers are in action when a side opts for the batting Powerplay,” said Dhoni.
And the “best bowlers” must have spotted India's inept handling of Powerplay by now. They must have done their homework and will have their plans ready when Dhoni & Co come up against them.
It's indeed not going to be easy for India.